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GolfWRX Morning 9: Carner, 79, shoots her age at USSWO | The “problem” with Hogan | Praising slow greens

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Good morning, GolfWRX members. As most of you are signed up for our newsletters, you likely already know that I’ve been sending this little Morning 9 roundup of nine items of note.

In case you’ve missed it, or you prefer to read on site rather than in your email, we’re including it here. Check out today’s Morning 9 below.

If you’re not signed up for our newsletters, you can subscribe here.

By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

 

July 13, 2018

Good Friday morning, golf fans. PSA: It’s Friday the 13th, for what that may or may not be worth to you.
1. JoAnne Carner shoots her age at USSWO

 

How can this not be today’s No. 1 story? Especially after the USGA took 79-year-old JoAnne Carner’s wedge of 30 years out of her hands the day before the tournament started.
  • Heck the woman said she doesn’t even walk golf courses anymore and she’s walking her fourth round this week. She’s almost 80! She’s tied for 50th at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open! Only five women were under par Thursday!
  • And “Big Mama” wasn’t even happy with her round: “I hit some good shots, but I hit some awful shots, really,” Carner said. “I had some 6- and 7-irons into the greens and just really hit awful shots. One went in the water. I was fighting it all the way.”
Cheers to you!

 

2. Luke List leads after 1 in Scotland, Fowler 1 back

 

AP Report…”American golfer Luke List equaled the Gullane course record with a 7-under-par 63 to start the Scottish Open on Thursday. List moved into the lead with his ninth birdie on the 15th hole and held it to finish the round ahead by one stroke.”
  • “He was followed by five players in a tie for second; Rickie Fowler, Lee Westwood, Robert Rock, Scott Fernandez of Spain, and Jens Dantorp of Sweden….Masters champion Patrick Reed was part of an eight-strong group a shot further back following a 65, with Danny Willett continuing his resurgence with a 66, and Olympic champion Justin Rose returning a 67.”
  • Phil Mickelson opened with an even par 70. He saved his best work for media center.
3. Your first ever U.S. Senior Women’s Open leader is…

 

Golf Channel’s Randall Mell sets the scene…”Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez couldn’t play after undergoing knee replacement surgery, but she was on the first tee at day’s start. She introduced players as the ceremonial starter.”
  • Pause. How cool is that?
  • “Hollis Stacy, whose eight USGA titles include three U.S. Women’s Open titles and three U.S. Girls’ Junior titles, savored starting in the first group with Carner and Sandra Palmer. “It means a lot, because as I’ve said all along, the USGA has been the custodians of golf,” Stacy said. “They’ve done a great job, and they want to do what’s right. Having a Senior Women’s Open is the right thing to do, and they did it in such a first-class way, coming to Chicago Golf Club and making it first class.”
  • “Laura Davies and Juli Inkster, favorites to win the event, moved into early contention, but Elaine Crosby topped the leaderboard at day’s end….A two-time LPGA winner, Crosby opened with a 3-under-par 70. She plays the LPGA Legends Tour, but she had to play her way into the U.S. Senior Women’s Open. She earned a spot in one of the 17 sectional qualifiers staged around the country.”
4. In praise of slow greens, featuring Rickie Fowler

 

Interesting thoughts from Rickie Fowler, conveyed by Geoff Shackelford (who certainly has skin in the game)
  • “While Gullane is playing firm and fast tee-to-fringe, the greens themselves are kept much slower than the typical European Tour course due to the possibility of high winds. Fowler enjoys the challenge of slower greens and even suggested they expose mis-hit putts more than fast surfaces.”
  • “”I think it’s kind of nice because (you) actually get to hit the putt, you’re not just trying to hit it to a spot and letting it work to the hole unless you have a downhill, downwind putt,” he said. Fowler, who played North Berwick on Monday, enjoys the challenge of greens in nine to ten Stimpmeter-speed range. Especially when the wind blows.”
  • ‘”You have to use your imagination as far as creativity and trying to judge how much the wind will affect it,” he said. “At the end of the day, you just have to hit solid putts.”‘
  • “Slower greens may accentuate a mis-hit putt more,” he said. “Whereas if you have a downhill putt in the States you kind of just have to hit it to get it going. Here, you mis-hit it a little bit uphill, into the wind and it can be a pretty big difference.”
5. Mucho Mickelson

 

I wrote yesterday…Coming on the heels of Alan Shipnuck’s superb ride along with Phil (as in, riding in Mickelson’s souped-up golf cart) the other day, Lefty had plenty of noteto say at the Scottish Open (per John Huggan).
  • Question: Do you think the backlash has been over the top?
  • “You have to be accountable for yourself,” said Mickelson. “I do a lot of dumb stuff. I had that rules deal at Greenbrier last week. And last year at Greenbrier I picked up my ball in the middle of the fairway, marked it and cleaned it. I have these like just moments where I’m in a ‘cloud.’ I’m not really sure what I’m doing. I’m just going through the motions and not really aware of the moment. I’ve done that a bunch in my career. I keep doing stuff like that. That’s the way my mind works.”
  • And here’s a snippet of an anecdote from Xander Schauffele…”Phil’s about to tee off, and he’s pretending to struggle. He was like, ‘Oh, gosh, it’s so hard to swing.’ I was like, what’s going on? And Phil goes, ‘Here Charley, you mind holding onto this?’ And he pulls this wad of cash out of his back pocket! The whole day, I was sitting in the cart, just lookin’ around, like, ‘I’m not gonna say anything here; I’m just gonna let these guys battle it out.’ And it was so much fun. Phil showed how competitive and fun he can make golf.”
6. DeChambeau injured

 

I don’t make jokes about athletes’ injuries, but if I did, I would say Bryson DeChambeau poked his eye out with his compass. In reality, BAD injured his shoulder on shot out of the rough and withdrew from the John Deere Classic.
  • The defending champ offered a decidedly Bryson analysis after the round…”They said there was some instability in the joint,” DeChambeau said. “On 2, I hit the shot out of the rough on the right, and I just didn’t feel right after that. I probably overloaded the muscle, my [deltoid], and that’s something I gotta work on in the future, to get a little stronger so that stuff doesn’t happen.”
  • He’s hoping with a few days of rest he’ll be good to go for next week’s Open Championship.
7. The “problem” with Hogan

 

Quotations mine, because, well, how many greats in the world of sport are without their issues, neuroses, and outright disorders? It ain’t normal to be a world-class competitor singular obsessed with winning! And with respect to Hogan, the man was in the house, possibly in the room, when his beloved father shot and killed himself…I think he could have turned out worse saddled with that trauma!
  • Anyway, John Barton, a “London-based counselor and psychotherapist,” filed a breakdown of the Hawk’s psyche for Golf Digest.
  • A few morsels…“For many, Hogan is an icon of what it means to be a golfer and a man. Clean-shaven, immaculately dressed, scrupulously honest. Modest. Hard-working. Disciplined. Stoical. A lone wolf, battling nature and the elements, internal ones as well as external.”
  • “The Austrian psychoanalyst Alfred Adler argued that men often overcompensate for their fear of vulnerability with a lurch toward stereotypical male aggression and competition. What fellow analyst Carl Jung called the anima, the feminine, is denied; the animus is embraced. (To be whole, Jung said, both must be integrated.) The boy-man is pure animus-animosity-shorn of anything that might be considered anima-the animating effects of emotion, creativity, compassion, collaboration.”
  • “Adler called this the “masculine protest” and regarded it as an evil force in history, underlying, for instance, the rise in fascism in the 20th century. To be taken seriously as a leader one must appear devoutly unempathetic, unfeeling, uncompromising, unflinching. When men get together-in locker rooms, strip clubs, prison movies-often a kind of competitive manliness ensues. The buddies trip degenerates into a PG-version of “Fight Club.” The most macho are the most afraid.”

 

8. I’m practicing, but I’m not getting any better!

 

Instructor Will Shaw offers some suggestions.
  • “To super-charge our learning, we must first realize that practice itself does not make us better at golf. This is an empty promise. It is close to the truth but incorrect. Instead, practice, when done correctly, will cause changes in our body to make us more skillful over time. This is a subtle, but important difference. There is no magic type of practice that universally builds skill, however, there are a handful of factors that can speed up, slow down or even stop your progress.”
  • The most important elements, according to Shaw: Give your body clear and precise feedback, and make your practice suitably difficult.

 

9. For your listening pleasure

 

If you have a bit of time this weekend, as some of us are blessed to, I wanted to call your attention to a couple of GolfWRX podcasts.
  • First, Michael Williams got a first-hand look at the already legendary goat caddies at Silves Valley Ranch.
  • Second, the Two Guys Talkin’ Golf talked about the recently spotted TaylorMade GAPR iron as only they cand.
  • Third, Johnny Wunder talked with Patrick Boyd of National Custom works about what the upstart company has going on, including its work for Jason Dufner.
All three pods can be found here.And remember: No goats, no glory.
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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Dave

    Jul 13, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    Is there qualifying for the USSWO?

  2. 3PuttPar

    Jul 13, 2018 at 9:11 am

    Ben, really enjoying the Morning 9. Keep it up.

  3. matt_bear

    Jul 13, 2018 at 8:45 am

    Bravo to JoAnne. That is more than remarkable. A testament to the game, and that you’re never too old.

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Wednesday’s photos from the 2019 Terra Cotta Invitational

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GolfWRX is live from the 2019 Terra Cotta Invitational at Naples National Golf Club, which will be contested April 26-28. Past winners of the amateur event include Justin Thomas and Emiliano Grillo.

Denny Glass, chairman of the Terra Cotta Invitational, was kind enough to give us a little more information about the tournament.

For GolfWRX members who aren’t familiar, tell me a little bit about the tournament and its history

Glass: The Terra Cotta Invitational began in 1996 and was originally a combination stroke play/match play event. 20 players were invited and they played 36 holes of stroke play then the top four finishers went on to match play with the others playing an 18 hole consolation match.

I changed it to a 54-hole stroke play event with 50 players in 2006 when I took over as Tournament Chair. This was done to be eligible for Titleist/Golfweek Amateur Ranking Points. The field increased over the years and now has 75-81 players. The tournament is now ranked as a “B” level event in the WAGR (World Amateur Golf Rankings) run by the USGA and R&A. This ranking is one level below the top-ranked events in the world. The WAGR rankings are based on the strength of the field so we are proud to be ranked so highly.

As it’s an invitational tournament, can you tell me a bit about who gets invited in general and who’s in the field this year, specifically? Tournament format?

Glass: It is an invitational so we invite as many of the top-ranked amateur players as are available. The field consists of many juniors (up to age 18), mid-amateurs (19-25) and some seniors (50+), along with collegiate players. While it is an invitational, we still receive more than 150 applications to play.

Can you talk about the host course and the relationship with Naples National?

The tournament is played at Naples National Golf Club. The tournament was started by the membership back in 1996. The club opened in 1993. The club hosted the World Championship of Golf, which was an LPGA event in its second year.

I know the charitable impact is important. Can you tell us about that?

The net proceeds are donated to Naples based children’s focused charities. The tournament has donated over $517,000 since it began.

Wednesday’s photos

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Winner of the 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge to receive a 1973 Dodge Challenger Restomod

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Under new sponsorship, the 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge which takes place at Colonial Country Club in Ft. Worth, will have a special prize on offer for its champion – a fully restored and customized 1973 Dodge Challenger.

The vehicle pays homage to the year which Schwab Corporation was founded and is equipped with tartan fabric seats and custom glacier blue paint. The car will serve as a complement to the Leonard Trophy and tartan jacket awarded each year at the tournament.

Charles Schwab worked in collaboration with Steve Strope of Pure Vision on the restoration process, and the car will be on display at Colonial throughout the tournament until it is presented to the winner on May 26.

The tournament runs from May 23-26. In 2018, Justin Rose won the event by three strokes.

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Honma EVP John Kawaja on marketing, tour strategy, working with Justin Rose, and putting a rumor to bed

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John Kawaja, executive vice president at Honma golf, spoke with our Johnny Wunder in the latest edition of the Gear Dive.

The industry veteran touched on a number of topics under the marketing and tour strategy umbrellas, including plenty about staffer Justin Rose. And while the entire podcast is well worth your time, we understand that some WRXers are more textually inclined.

So, as we often do, here are a few highlights from the ‘cast.

On working with Justin Rose

Kawaja: Mark [King] and I have worked with Justin for many, many years…he’s a consummate professional. He is by far and away the best brand ambassador one could have when it comes to playing great golf, being a great spokesman for your brand and really knowing equipment, which is helpful for a company [that is]…trying to get better every day…”

What was a bit surprising, to be honest, is how quickly we were able to switch out the No. 1 player in the world to Honma equipment…we’ve got 11 clubs in his bag, including a driver that has a Honma shaft…that’s probably the biggest surprise…People were saying, “he’ll probably never play their driver.” And I’m not sure there are many people on the planet that would have bet he was going to play a Honma driver with a Honma shaft.

With Justin, everything is always in the pursuit of getting better. We’ve got a 47-degree wedge and a 52-degree wedge. We a 56-degree wedge in his bag for most of the year, but the 60-degree wedge, we’re working on. He has a certain feel and a sensation…all these guys have fantastic feel, but I think Justin is the most extraordinary I’ve worked with…so, we’re working on the wedges We’re working on CGs and bounce and grind and grooves and groove spacing…but until we can make something that’s better than what he’s got in his bag, we don’t expect him to change what he’s playing.

He’s really happy with the irons. He’s delighted with his long iron…that is a prototype of a set that we’re introducing in June called the Tour World X iron…fairway woods, we actually haven’t even started…we’ve just been focused on other parts of his bag. We don’t want to force him to feel like he needs to have 13 clubs in his bag…and we’re never going to touch a putter. But we’ve just started to work on fairway woods. Next time I see him, we’ve got some product for him to hit.

On the company’s approach to professional tours and what’s next

Kawaja: We wanted to start with Justin and…establish ourselves with the No. 1 player in the world…he’ll be the face on tour of our brand for the foreseeable future. Anybody that Justin has played with this year, we’ve heard from, because they’ve noticed what Justin has seen. We’ve worked with tour players–some of the non-contracted guys, some of the guys that are curious…We’re not in any rush.

We’re never going to have the tour presence that a Callaway, or a Titleist, or a TaylorMade have…but we do intend to grow our presence…we do want to have a few more players…we’re going to look for players that have global reach, and we’re going to look for younger players. Younger players are always riskier, but we’re looking at kids that are making the transition from collegiate golf to professional golf…we think that we’ll grow our tour presence next year…but one or two.

On the importance of a tour presence

Kawaja: I think it’s extremely important. It always has been. You could always correlate No. 1 on tour with No. 1 in the marketplace in literally every single category. That, I think, says enough. Golfers are, we may all be different, but I think there’s one thing in the psychology of a guy that calls himself a golfer…there’s a gene we all share, and that’s the aspiration to hit one like a tour player.

They’re the best influencers. It doesn’t matter social media followings or whatever…if you’re watching golf and following golf, they have an influence on the bags, on the apparel, on the look of most golfers.

On dealing with rumors in general and the suggestion Honma’s TW 747 driver is too hot in particular

Kawaja: Well, [the rumor] is simply not true. …Our core message is about the beauty of our products and not performance, so it’s kind of ironic people are worried our drivers are illegal. We’ve been making the highest-quality golf equipment for 60 years. We know what we’re doing. We’re not a startup.

I think I understand where it comes from. We’ve been working with several PGA Tour players. Universally, they’re seeing faster ball speeds with Honma. Not incremental gains, but two, three, four miles per hour…One of the big four equipment companies…they’ve seen these results…and unfortunately, that rumor started. And I don’t know how it started, but it’s hard to believe. It’s not true. And frankly, it’s bush league.

On the competitiveness of the tour environment

Kawaja: It is a competitive environment. I remember when we were over at the other place, we talked every day about what our competitors were doing, and we tried to beat the crap out of them every day…We’re kind of new out there. I think the people that are out there every week, there’s a kinship among the tour reps who are working with players and working the range every week…we show up, we’ve got the No. 1 player, we start to work with guys, guys are curious…it’s competitive…

I’m a competitive guy by nature from a business perspective and from a previous life [Kawaja is a two-time curling world-champion for Canada]…and we welcome the opportunity to work with more tour players and show them what we’ve got.

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